Want to enjoy all the benefits of percussion massage?
Then it’s no surprise that you’re shopping for a massage gun!
To ensure you choose the one that’s right for you, there are a few different things you need to consider.
Below we’ve summarised what to look for when buying a massage gun:
1. Stroke Depth
One feature of a gun massager that manufacturers shout about is the stroke depth.
This is the depth to which the massager will power into your muscles and is typically quoted in millimeters.
To give you an example, the top models in Theragun’s latest collection of percussion massagers reach 16mms into the muscles.
You will find alternatives that go deeper, however don’t feel like you simply need to find the device that goes deepest.
Theragun states that 16mm amplitude is optimum for deep muscle treatment, and depending on your build less depth will certainly still do the job.
2. Percussions per Minute (PPM)
PPM or Percussions per Minute, is just as it sounds, how many thumps your body effectively takes in a minute!
Quoted in thousands, it gives you an indication of the power of the product.
More percussions = more power.
One important thing to remember is that you need to balance the PPM quoted with the stroke.
A device with a shorter stroke depth will naturally provide a higher PPM as it isn’t going as deep.
Stall force is shown in pounds, and is the amount of applied pressure a device can take without stalling.
As a general rule, the higher the no-stall force the better, especially if you have a muscular build.
Despite better though, it really does depend on your size as to whether you’d need the full force on offer.
In a similar way to stroke depth, for many the lower levels of force available on the market would be more than enough.
5. Rotating Arm
You’ll notice when shopping around that massage guns are all different shapes!
A number have a rotating arm, allowing you to treat pretty much anywhere on your body much more easily.
When paired with different grip positions, you get numerous combinations to apply percussion therapy to even the most hard to reach areas.
One way that companies aim to differentiate their massage guns is through the attachments that ship with the device.
Typically they offer at least a couple of heads, carefully created to work on different areas.
For example, a large ball head for bigger muscle groups or a pointed head to target trigger points.
Many manufacturers also give you the option to buy additional attachments, which is something to bear in mind if the massage gun you love doesn’t have the head you want.
Gun massagers can have built-in Bluetooth, enabling them to be paired with the manufacturer app.
This gives you access to various programs and personalized routines.
Wi-Fi enabled massage tools have built-in guided programs to help you get more from your treatment.
Automatic software updates can mean new programs and treatments are regularly available on your device.
This can make you feel like you have a new gadget every few months!
12. Noise Level
Noise level can be a major consideration for many people when shopping for a gun massager.
Manufacturers quote the noise level of the device in decibels (dB). This can range anywhere from 10 dB to 70 dB.
Some manufacturers won’t quote the level itself, instead referring to the grade of the motor used or the fact that it’s brushless.
(Brushless motors typically deliver a softer sound as they need less power to work)
Consider where you’re going to use your massager, if you want to use it in a busy gym then a noisy tool might go unnoticed.
13. Battery Life
Most percussion massage guns on the market today will include a rechargeable battery.
Take a look at the quoted battery life and think about whether it meets your needs.
Many of the pricier models, such as the Theragun PRO, ship with interchangeable batteries, so you can use one and have the other on charge.
They’re great as you never have to experience the frustration of running out of power mid-treatment!
Size is worth assessing, as it will determine how you hold and handle the device.
In recent years there has been a surge in manufacturers releasing ‘mini’ gun massagers, that promise the power of a bigger tool in a smaller package!
For many they could pack the punch you need. However if you’re a real fitness fanatic then a full size tool might provide more versatility.
You could end up holding your massage gun in place for a long period of time, so make sure it’s not too heavy
Positioning a heavy massager when trying to treat hard to reach areas is also more challenging.
Typically percussion massage guns weigh under 3lbs, but it’s always worth checking before you make a purchase.
Hopefully nothing will go wrong with your new gadget, but if it does you want to be covered.
Look closely at the warranty offered and be clear on exactly what it covers, so you can be sure your investment is protected.
20. Consumer Reviews
Finally, it pays to understand what other people thought of the product, so read plenty of consumer reviews.
By listening to firsthand accounts, you can work out whether the product is right for your needs.
For example, if people are raving about it as a solution for neck pain, then your sore neck will certainly thank you for the investment!
Alternatively if people are saying that they struggle to get the right grip to treat their back pain, you and your back discomfort might want to look elsewhere!
Now you know what you’re looking for it’s time to start exploring the options.
A little too pricey? Read our roundup of a number of alternatives that will still hit the mark.